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CAGAYAN, Philippines – Weeks after students from universities in Manila staged protests against tuition increase, a freshman at the Cagayan State University (CSU) committed suicide for her alleged failure to take the midterm examinations due to financial constraints.
A police report on Friday, February 27, said Rosanna Sanfuego apparently hanged herself at home in Abulug town in Cagayan, based on information provided by her mother, Sophiya. She was 16 years old.
Rosanna was proclaimed dead in their house, Abulug Chief of Police Senior Inspector Engelbert Bunagan said.
“Hindi na [naitakbo sa ospital], kasi nagsama kami agad ng doctor. Dun sa bahay pa lang proclaimed dead na,” Bunagan said. (She was not brought to the hospital because we already brought with us a doctor. She was proclaimed dead there.)
Her classmates least expected her to commit suicide because of her gentle nature. Rosanna, a respiratory therapy student, was reportedly having difficulty paying her school and boarding house fees in Tuguegarao.
According to a classmate, who requested not to be named, Rosanna was not able to take her midterm examinations in CSU last week, forcing her to quit school.
Hours before Rosanna’s body was discovered, she even sent her elder brother an SMS about her problems.
CSU officials are studying the reimposition of tuition fees after observing a “no tuition fee policy” for 4 years, a school official said earlier.
Dr Litamin Gonzales, who conducted the medico-legal examination, said depression may have been the probable cause of suicide.
Student organization reacts
In the past, at least two similar cases were reported in the media. Kristel Tejada of the University of the Philippines-Manila ended her life after being disallowed to take her examination without paying long overdue fees. In Davao City, 12-year-old Marianette Amper reportedly committed suicide due to poverty and depression.
A youth group called Rosanna’s case as “Kristel Tejada of Cagayan,” and called on the government to address the low accessibility of education.
“Ngayon, may Kristel na rin dito sa Cagayan…dahil sa pagpapabaya ng estadong ito sa karapatan ng bawat isa sa edukasyon,” said Liana Acuzar, chairperson of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines-Cagayan Valley.
(We now have a Kristel in Cagayan…because of the failure of the government to prioritize the education of each Filipino.)
Professor Gerardo Lanuza of University of the Philippines said Rosanna’s act to end her life is a reflection of commercialization of education, where society opted to get profit over the life and education of students.
Poverty and suicide
In its latest report December last year, the polling firm Social Weather Stations noted that 52% of the over 100 million population in the Philippines considered themselves “poor.”
The United Nation’s latest Human Development Report placed the country 117th of 187 countries based on the Human Development Index (HDI). The HDI measures 3 basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, knowledge, and a decent standard of living.
Only Myanmar, Cambodia, and Vietnam placed below Philippines at 150th, 136th and 121st, respectively.
According to a report of the World Health Organization (WHO) in September last year, suicide is second leading cause of death among youth in the world.
WHO estimated that around 1 person commits suicide every 40 seconds.
It said that the major cause of suicide is depression. – Rappler.com